Leag ceannaire Fhianna Fáil, Mícheál Martin, an-bhéim ar an Ghaeilge agus é ag tabhairt óráide ag comóradh de chuid Fianna Fáil ar Éirí Amach 1916 ag Cnoc an Arbhair, Baile Átha Cliath, inniu.
Dúirt sé :
Even though they had amongst them many people who had taken the lead in working for the revival of our language they also both respected the role of the Anglo-Irish tradition. For example, Thomas MacDonagh’s most important academic work, which is still taught in our universities, was a passionate argument for how works in English produced in Ireland had a uniquely Irish voice which should be recognised and valued as a national treasure.
The men and women of 1916 were at the vanguard of patriots who helped preserve our national language in the face of the ravages of official policy and depopulation. Many people have quite wrongly said that they used the language as a divisive force – that they saw this island as divided between Gaels and foreigners. This is completely untrue.
They formed part of a long and inclusive tradition which saw a shared gaelic heritage as something which should unite everyone on this island. The first printed book in Irish was the Book of Common Prayer. Time and again over two centuries it was scholars of non-nationalist traditions that had the biggest impact in helping preserve folk memories and to turn Irish into an accessible written language.
The men and women of 1916 were inspired by the Gaelic League and the prospects of reviving the language – equally they were inspired by the potential of the language as something which could reach across class and traditions.
I believe we need to be true to this in our support for the language today. More children than ever are being taught through Irish and for the first time there is a proper long-term strategy, published three years ago, for its permanent development.
Cé go bhfuil tagairt déanta don Straitéis 20 bliana ansin, atá á i rith an ama ag an rialtas reatha, agus don Ghaelscolaíocht, ní dhearna sé aon choimitmint nua don teanga.
Leag sé béim ar chúrsaí sa Tuaisceart chomh maith, ach ionsaí ar Shinn Féin a bhí i gceist go bunúsach. Ní dhearna sé aon tagairt d’Éire aontaithe agus cé gur dhúirt sé go raibh vótóirí náisiúnacha agus poblachtacha ligthe síos ag Sinn Féin, níor luaigh sé a dhath faoi Fhianna Fáil ag glacadh páirte i dtoghcháin ó thuaidh.
Mhaigh sé go raibh baint ag easpa díograis rialtas na hÉireann agus rialtas na Breataine i leith an Tuaiscirt, dar leis, contúirteach agus go raibh ról aige seo le deacrachtaí polaitiúla a bhí ann ó thuaidh le tamall anuas.
Dúirt sé :
Unfortunately, what we are seeing today is a clear and dangerous lack of commitment on the part of both the Irish and British governments to making sure that the institutions established under the Agreement are working properly and that there is no backsliding.
The flag protests, increased dissident activity and growing public discontent at a dysfunctional Executive and Assembly have coincided with two years of a hands-off strategy from the Irish and British Governments.